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“The other day a little girl who had been to one of my readings of

Thisbe's Promise came up to me in a coffee store and whispered in my ear,

'The whale was promised the water. That's my favorite part.'

And for the first time in a long while, my heart felt alive again.

I told her it would have been Thisbe's, too.

       -Laurian Scott, Author

In December of 2006, my daughter, Thisbe, was 2 ½ years old and 13 months into her fight with the motor neuron disease Brown-Vialetto-Van Laere. She had begun to spiral into the depths of the disease, and her father and I were terrified we were losing the battle. We were desperate to hold onto our hope.

One night that December, I went to the bookstore to hunt for a book for each of my three children – one that would speak to them. It was a practice I began with my first child nearly eleven years earlier. For every major holiday, birthday, and sometimes in between, I would search for that perfect book, and then I would date and sign it in length, explaining why I had chosen that particular book for them. I didn’t find Thisbe’s book that night, nor did I any other night. Pouring through all of those shelves in the picture book section, I couldn’t find the one that told her what I so desperately wanted her to know.

Thisbe loved for me to read to her. Eventually, I had to read books to her in sign language, as she had begun to lose her hearing. As she also became more bed-ridden, reading became my primary focus for communication and inspiration for her. We had a small library in our house at her disposal, but I wanted to read her a book that would encourage her to get better. I wanted to read her a book that didn’t just say how much I love her; I wanted to show her what my love for her is – to somehow capture the “you are my very breath” of love. I wanted her to know that we weren’t done fighting. I wasn’t done fighting. And I wanted to promise her that she would be healthy again one day.

Christmas morning Thisbe opened a couple of new books, but neither was that special one I had in my heart. A few nights later, I sat down in the chair beside the bed where she was sleeping. It was dark except for a bit of light coming from the crack in the closet door. I looked at her precious little body being fed loud, mechanical breaths by the ventilator beside her, and 45 minutes later I had Thisbe’s Promise scratched out in a spiral bound notebook.

Thisbe died four months later.

Though I had read the words to her when she rested or was fast asleep, I never knew if she heard them. She didn’t live to see her book come to fruition, but I published Thisbe’s Promise just as I would have if she were still here; because it is the best illustration of love, and of hope and of miracles that I could ever give her - not to mention that it speaks directly to the lovely little spirit that she was and what she most enjoyed in books: oh, the joy that simple animals and foldouts can bring!

When I began this book, I couldn’t have believed that Thisbe wouldn’t be here to read it for herself. Even more, I wouldn’t have begun to fathom that by the time her book came out, I would have also lost my son to the same disease.

Thisbe’s Promise is just the beginning for ETS Publishing. It was created in honor of our beautiful, courageous little girl, and it is a book she would have adored, in sickness and in health. The next book we publish will do the same for our son, Noah. It will honor his snuggly, dancing little personality and his ultimate boyishness, and in so doing, like Thisbe’s Promise it will capture so much more.

To learn about Thisbe and Noah’s story and our fight to honor their legacy,
please visit

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